ICRC to visit Myanmar's prisoners

Dec. 11, 2012 at 12:55 PM

YANGON, Myanmar, Dec. 11 (UPI) -- The International Committee of the Red Cross said it was ready to start assessing conditions for prisoners in Myanmar as soon as possible.

Violence erupted along Myanmar's coastal area in June after the alleged rape and killing of a Buddhist woman. Buddhists retaliated by attacking Muslims. The United Nations estimates at least 78 people were killed in the fighting.

Myanmar has received praise from the international community for political reforms that began with general elections in 2010. Some world leaders, however, said they were concerned about the number of political prisoners still imprisoned.

Alain Aeschlimann, head of ICRC operations for the region, said the government in Myanmar had agreed in November to give the agency access to prisons in the country.

"We intend to start detention visits as soon as possible, rather than sitting in offices discussing the subject," he said in a statement.

ICRC workers will visit prisons to assess living conditions and the health system.

The agency added it was working with Myanmar's Red Cross to provide assistance to those affected by violence in Rakhine state.

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